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Outback Solutions Cargo Storage – '91 Sport

Paul

Elite Explorer
Joined
August 18, 1999
Messages
1,299
Reaction score
659
City, State
Grit City, Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 “Sport”
So here’s the back-story: Every couple of years I chose a project to make the Explorer better or more capable - - some are small, some are re-do’s of old projects that either needed upgrades or wore out, and some (like this one) are a bit more involved.


This year, it’s putting together a rear cargo storage system in order to organize all off-roading and other equipment that I carry in the rig. In the past, I’ve used an aluminum “foot locker” that was a decent fit for the cargo area, but it wasn’t very efficient, and allowed a lot of wasted space. An alternative solution was a fabricated a throw-away storage unit from an old mini-van that I modded to fit the cargo area - - not a terrible option, but you were forced to pull anything off the top of the unit in order to access the storage bins below.

Bin OpenedSM.JPG



So I knew what I wanted - - a drawer system, and preferably, with a sliding top section that would facilitate mounting a cooler / fridge, or action packer or tool box.
So I found a set that I really felt would work, they’re called Outback Solutions and available through ARB. All steel construction, carpeted inside and out, and modular, so they can be stacked side by side or one atop each other.

DrawerSM.JPG


They make several different sizes and some that they refer to as “Roller Drawer – Roller Floor”, that is a drawer with a top “floor” that rolls out where you can mount a fridge, tool box, etc. Unfortunately, this option was not available in the size I wanted. . . For some reason I prefer to leave the rear seats in an upright position, if I lowered them (or removed them), I could have purchased the larger drawer with built in roller top “floor”,

So now the modifications. . . Had a old computer storage rack at work that was going to the scrap heap, so grabbed two of the shelves with rails. . .

ShelvesSM.JPG


Had to figure out how to mount the shelves, as at 24” wide, they were 4” wider than the 20” wide drawers. After some deliberation, decided a “top” to the two drawers was the best method, as it would close off the cargo area. Not much work here - - just had to notch out the rear portion of the ½” plywood.

TemplateSM.JPG


More to follow. . .

Paul
'91 Sport
 



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Continued. . .

Purchased some carpet scrap, and will cover the plywood to closely match the drawers. This is all just roughed in, just a few staples in the carpet to shape it for test fitting.

Top CarpetSM.JPG


Got to admit, pretty close match on the carpet.

Still need to work out a system for mounting the shelf rails on the top, that'll be tomorrow's project.

Shelf CarpetSM.JPG


Also, looking at adding some “doors” on either side of the drawers in order to store some soft goods; hinged to pull out from the bottom - - after trimming to fit, will add some pull knobs on the lower end and cover these in carpet, too.

DoorsSM.JPG


Nothing attached yet, all still in the fitting process, so the supervisor was none too impressed. . .

SupervisorSM.JPG


More to follow. . .

Paul
’91 Sport
 






Nicely done!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 






...Looks great...:biggthump

..and it looks like the mancave is also about complete..:D
 






Good looking work, Paul!

Your supervisor - is that Molson? If so, how old is he now?
 






Rondo - Thanks, but not nearly "done" - - but by purchasing the drawers, all the really hard work is already finished.

TBars - Thanks also, have lurked on some of your expedition threads, (that type exploring piques my interest), and I thought this would be a good upgrade if I can swing one of your trips in the future. Man Cave is "done", always making some minor improvements (kinda like projects with the Explorer), but I'll throw a few pictures in as well. . .

Gerald - Awesome memory! That indeed is Molson, who you probably met in Moab in 2000. . . He is 14+, and doing well - - still great quality of life, no noticeable pain, but he is on a terminal life path , slowing down and stiffer after sleeping - - which he does a lot of. . . He's had a great life, though, so the goal is to keep him healthy as long as he enjoys being around. . .

Back to the work:

So, did I mention I usually work through these projects kind of slowly ? ? Not in a rush to finish, plus a lot of "life" getting in the way recently, so wasn't up to figuring out the shelving design (and I usually get a better solution if I mull it over for a while).

So instead, finished up the top and worked on the side doors. . .
Carpet DoneSM.JPG


Nothing fancy for the application . . .
Carpet FastenersSM.JPG


Thought the fit looked pretty good. . .
Carpet FittedSM.JPG


Last night the carpet was just loose fitted, probably a good chance now that this won't ever come out of the rig. . .
Top FittedSM.JPG


Paul
'91 Sport
 






So the side doors aren't quite finished (did I mention I usually work kind of slowly ? ? ?), but more due to having to paint the hinges black. . .really. . .

Thought they came out pretty decent . . .
Door KnobsSM.JPG

Also retro-fitted the cargo cage (reduced the "legs" to sit on top of the shelf).

Just your standard $1.19 drawer pull. . .
Door KnobSM.JPG


That's about as far as I got today - - sure doesn't seem like much. . .

Here's a couple of Man Cave pics:

New Tool Chest (old smaller Craftsman now houses motorcycle parts)
Tool ChestSM.JPG


Shelves and T.V. . .
Shelves TVSM.JPG


More to follow (just not too quickly). . .

Paul
'91 Sport
 












Just your standard $1.19 drawer pull. . .

..The black buttons on the side doors, are those finger pulls and if so can you share p/n's and some more details on them?..:popcorn:
 






..The black buttons on the side doors, are those finger pulls and if so can you share p/n's and some more details on them?..:popcorn:

Sorry, they're just knobs. . . No need to flush-mount them, had plenty of space between the door and rear hatch.

Paul
'91 Sport
 






Looks great Paul.

Is there some kind of latch on the drawers to keep them in place?

Please give Molson a scratch behind the ears for us.
 






Nice work! I've been working on a similar solution for my cargo area but with a speaker box at the front. I took my seats out so that's where the speaker box part would be.
 






Is there some kind of latch on the drawers to keep them in place?

Phil - You activate the drawer by pulling the handle, down-ward, so when the drawer is closed, it's latched shut. . .
HandleSM.JPG


Had some time this evening, so installed the hinges.
HingeSM.JPG


One of the best features (for me anyways), is that the drawers lock - - and since the safari doors lmit the ability to secure the vehicle, by locking the drawers and the rear hatch, it'd be pretty hard to get into the cargo system.
KeySM.JPG

Better view of the knob. . .

Ax and MRE slid into side storage space for effect.
Door OpenSM.JPG
 






Excellent :thumbsup:

Drawers make it so nice and easy to get to everything. I love mine but it's booty-fab compared to yours.

The cabinets are bolted to the floor of your rig, under the drawer?
 






Drawers make it so nice and easy to get to everything. I love mine but it's booty-fab compared to yours.

I've toyed around with building a some like yours, but just don't have the skill set to make them work very well. . . Yep, can't even achieve "booty-fab", or at least be happy with the result. I can work wood, but cabinets / drawer systems are beyond my level of effort. Side doors, top section, and shelves (still working that portion out) are enough to make it "mine". . .

The cabinets are bolted to the floor of your rig, under the drawer?

Not yet - - I'll have to take it all out and drill through the floor this weekend. The drawers also bolt together,and I'll secure the top section to the top of the drawers.

The current thought process on the shelves is maybe to make them "temporary" - - easily installed or removed when needed. . . More to follow (in good time). . .
 






Looking great, Paul! Are you going to have more "stuff" back there now than you normally carry or will it be the same? If more, have you noticed the weight difference affecting the suspension (ride height) at all?
 






That turned out great! Nice job:chug:

How deep are the drawers?
 






Colin Thanks, haven't even loaded it yet - - but would expect to carry a bit more (you know the deal: "Gear expands to meet/exceed the storage requirements..."), so I'll have to see once finished. Had hoped to showcase these at Truckhaven next weekend, but a trip to D.C. made that impossible.

Rick The drawers are 30" deep x 12' high x 20" wide, so about the same size as the foot locker I used to have, and at 40" wide for the pair, leave 1-2" at the wheel wells. Not sure if the cargo size of the Sport is smaller than the 4 door versions, but it gives me enough space behind the rear seats to put a spare drive shaft, rear axle shaft, and one or two other linear objects. . .

Paul
'91 Sport
 






Have I mentioned that I usually take some time when completing these projects. . . ? ? ? Actually, was suposed to be in D.C. this week, but the trip got shelved Sunday morning based on "Sandy", and its expected damage along the East Coast. Good call, because it's almost Wednesday and the airlines are still on limited function, at least anything going to or coming out of the area (though had I known all this beforehand, coulda/woulda/shoulda made the trek to TruckHaven...).

So back to the project: So it looked all good, but now had to mount it to the truck! Here's a shot of the fasteners that came with the drawers...
Drawer PartsSM.JPG


So had to take the shelves apart in order to mount them, pretty easy to do. Then bolt them together...
Drawer FrameSM.JPG


Once I had the OEM carpeted top pieces off, I got to thinking - - more on that thought process later. . . Here's a look at the interior rollers for the drawer system. . .
Drawer RollersSM.JPG


Here's one of the attachment points - - what's nice about these is the squared "washer" is rubberized, so no metal to metal squeeks while going down the road...
Drawer BoltedSM.JPG
 



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So here's the bolt through the cargo floor - - fasteners well anchored...
AnchoredSM.JPG


So back to the deck tops - - started to think, why put them back on and then put a carpeted plywood decking on top of those ? ? ? So decided to "re-purpose" those pieces as the sliding racks on top of the drawers. . .
So here's how it looks with the single deck - - only problem was that I had to shorten the side doors as the deck was 3/4" lower than during the test fit...
Single DeckSM.JPG


Based on using the computer rack shelves that I had, just needed to thin these pieces out in order to fit on the deck top - - cut out 3" from the center...
Shelf NarrowedSM.JPG


Then connected the two metal pieces to the original deck tops, and of course, had to cover the bottom-side of these shelves with carpet, you know, just in case someone really wanted to check the work...
Shelves ThinnedSM.JPG
 






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